Nativity Scenes Banned at Santa Monica Park After Atheist Dispute

Religion Today

Nativity Scenes Banned at Santa Monica Park After Atheist Dispute


The city council of Santa Monica, Calif., has voted to half unattended private displays in a public park after a fight last year between atheists and Christians who had set up Nativity scenes for decades, the Religion News Service reports. The June 12 vote came after the city first attempted to end holiday disputes by creating a lottery system in 2011 -- which resulted in atheists receiving all but three of the allotted 21 spaces for displays. Christians, who had previously used 14 spots, received two and an Orthodox Jew was given the other. "The city lacked the will to come up with a creative solution to the problem of accommodating the anti-religion agitators and caved in to their demands to remove a universally cherished symbol of the Christmas season from its traditional place in Palisades Park," said William J. Becker, Jr., a lawyer who represented the group seeking to maintain Nativity scenes in the park. However, the Freedom From Religion Foundation hailed the decision. "We want to congratulate the local freethinkers who played the religious game and outsmarted the churches," said Annie Laurie Gaylor, the organization's co-president.

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